Student well-being (as opposed to an overemphasis on learning outcomes or technologies) should serve as the central component of a successful online model for students with disabilities. Historically, research on online schools for students with disabilities has focused on outcomes. One online charter schools growth of the students with disabilities population has outpaced the growth of the general education student population over the past eight years, which is an unusual trend that warrants additional scrutiny. Using anonymous parent and student surveys coupled with in-depth phenomenological interviews, this explanatory mixed-methods study investigates the reasons families of students with disabilities chose online learning at this particular school and what their experiences have been. The findings suggest that parents and students value the learning environment in terms of choosing when, where, and how to learn, and the student experience in terms of safety, support, academics, and teachers. Further analysis suggests the importance of mattering, social safety and connection, open educational resource-enabled pedagogy, and self-determination in providing supportive online learning environments for students with disabilities and their parents. This dissertation can be downloaded at www.delainatonks.com.
College and Department
David O. McKay School of Education; Instructional Psychology and Technology
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Tonks, DeLaina Cales, "A Mixed Methods Study of Special Education Families' Experiences at an Online Charter School" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 7371.
online learning, students with disabilities, open educational resources, self-determination